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Derry Girls exhibition features at top industry conference

12 February 2024

The Tower Museum’s Derry Girls Experience was among some of the top exhibitions showcased last week at the Museums Association’s conference in London.

Curator of the Tower Museum, Roisin Doherty, and Dara Lynne Lenehan, Director of EPIC Interpretive Design, were invited to address industry figures from across the UK at the event, titled ‘Show Time: Designing Great Exhibitions 2024’.

During the conference they shared how the record-breaking exhibition uses real props from the hit TV show to create a unique and fun visitor experience that also examines the serious political context of 1990s Northern Ireland.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Patricia Logue, said it was another acknowledgement of the exhibition’s unique appeal. “I am delighted that the creative thinking behind the Derry Girls exhibition has been recognised by the Museums Association and that they offered this opportunity to share the journey behind the delivery of the exhibition with other industry professionals.

“The visitor numbers speak for themselves, but it is extremely rewarding to see the level of interest in the planning and design of the exhibition, which takes an innovative approach to utilising film props and sets to create an immersive and educational museum experience.”

Speaking after the event, Council Curator, Roisin Doherty said it had been wonderful to have the opportunity to showcase the exhibition among industry experts. “We have had some fantastic feedback from the conference, and it was the perfect chance to talk about how we set about bringing the worlds of popular culture and local history together.

“While Derry Girls is obviously a hit TV show, it has created a new platform for telling our story to a new audience. The underlying narrative of the show is essentially serious, but we wanted to keep the humour within the exhibition, and also ensure visitors are leaving with some sense of the history and culture of the city that inspired it, which was quite a challenge.”

The Derry Girls Experience opened in July, with plans to remain at the Tower Museum for one year. Due to demand, and a huge surge in visitor numbers, the exhibition has been extended for another year until July 2025. The exhibition has garnered a number of accolades, including the Irish Design Industry Award for Connected Experiences, as well as a Tripadvisor Traveller’s Choice Award.

The project was funded through Tourism NI Market Led Product Development Programme 2022/23, with additional funds from Council’s Museum Services Programme. Set pieces from the show were provided by Hat Trick Productions and series creator Lisa McGee, including dressings, furniture and original props. 

The exhibition also uses AR technology to provide some interactive elements to the exhibition making it a really user friendly experience.

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